Have a cheap New Year's Eve
Here are some very cheap ideas for ringing in the New Year without the usual anticlimax.
Lots of people complain about how expensive New Year celebrations are in packed pubs, bars and clubs, so I've given some thought to alternatives.
Home party ideas
The money-saving option for many of us is to stick to a party at home. Here's how to have fun, without spending a fortune!
The Werewolves of Misty Forest
I played this party game in Germany, where it has the above title, but the original version was created in the USSR with a different theme, and it was called Mafia. It's best with lots of people, say 14 or more, with three of you as werewolves. The villagers know there are werewolves living in your village, eating you one by one when the moon shines. You have to find them and kill them before you all die, but don't lynch your fellow villagers by mistake.
There are lots of variants on the rules, but try these rules on E BLONG and also Mafia (party game) on Wikipedia if you want more variants. I've played with the extra village characters the seer, the witness, cupid and the hunter, which are described on those pages.
Fancy-dress murder mystery
I have also enjoyed many murder-mystery parties from the box over the years and will be doing another this 31st December. My favourite series of games so far has been from Murder à la carte which does games for at least six people and a maximum of eight. The Brie, The Bullet & the Black Cat was a good one, for example. Games might cost £10 to £30. Use the reviews on Amazon to ensure the game works as it should.
In these sorts of games, all the players arrive at a dinner to find that someone is already dead. Although you're all outwardly respectable people, throughout the course of the evening you uncover dark secrets about each others' past, business dealings and black personal habits, as well as motives for murder.
In my experience, even those who are not so extroverted or are a bit nervous about acting their parts have a lot of fun in the end. Send out invites as soon as possible, because each person has to read who their character is in the role-play, so they have time to put together the fancy-dress costume and to try take the edge off their characters' terrible but inevitably hilarious accents.
Victorian party games
Lastly, try out the Christmas holiday Victorian parlour games described on mookychick, which includes knowledge games, wordplay and silly games like “Ha Ho Hee”.
In the city
However, a house party is not the only way to celebrate the New Year on a budget. If you want to get outside, there are many cities and towns around the UK offering free events. Here are just a few examples I've looked at, but there are plenty of others. If there's a great, free event in your town, why not let your fellow readers know about it via the comment box below?
In the UK's capital there is the traditional, large, free fireworks display starting at midnight along the impressive setting of the Thames by the Parliament building and the London Eye, followed by free and extended tube access for all passengers from 11.45pm to 4.30am. When the capacity of around 250,000 is reached access will be restricted, so aim to be there some hours earlier. There will be plenty of sights, attractions, and people there to keep you entertained.
Join the parade in Newcastle to meet Thor and the Black Elves. See Odin's wolves prowling the streets, and plenty more from “Norse mythologies, Viking folklore and local traditions”, according to the NewcastleGateshead Initiative.
More than 20,000 revellers are due in Britain’s biggest New Year's Eve fancy-dress party in the town and at the harbour side.
The Hogmanay party begins on 30 December with a huge torchlight procession from Parliament Square to Calton Hill for a light and fireworks display. On New Year's Eve itself there is a street party at a modest entry cost of £15 plus £1.50 booking fee to see a great many performers among 80,000 other revellers beneath the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
The party goes on into New Year's Day with The New Year Games, designed by arts collective stroke pop band FOUND. It's all for free, for adults and families alike.
Isle of Man
It'll be three months since the Celtic New Year of Hop-tu-Naa on the Isle of Man, but still cold. That doesn't stop hundreds of people going for a dip in the sea, followed by a coffee morning, all for charity.